Category Archives: cookbook

2017 Cook My Books Challenge: February

I’ve got to say guys, I’m impressing myself. I’m not usually one to stick to my goals, but I’ve made it through month 2 of my Cook My Books Challenge (check out last month’s post if you missed it). I guess what they say about making yourself accountable really does help with achieving your goals!

In case you’re new to the blog, my challenge to myself was:

This year I will cook at least 3 recipes per month from my cookbooks and post a recap at the end of each month!

So here’s what I cooked from my books in February:

1. Fettuccine with Creamy Roasted Red Pepper-Feta Sauce from The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger

I had high hopes for this pasta, but I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. Even though the sauce had almost 1 cup of feta blended into it, you really couldn’t even tell it was in there so I had to add plenty more on top! I much prefer my own recipe for Roasted Red Pepper and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta.

roasted-red-pepper-pasta

2. Radicchio with Beets, Sweets, and Classic Balsamic Dressing from Whole Bowls by Allison Day

I really loved the flavours in this salad! I’m not usually a big fan of radicchio, but paired with the sweet root vegetables and feta (I was very heavy handed on the cheese), its bitter taste was balanced out. This dish was also very visually appealing with the beautiful purples and bright orange vegetables.

beets-sweets-salad

3. Cuban Stir Fry of Pork, Black Beans, and Sweet Potato from Lucy’s Kitchen by Lucy Waverman

I made this recipe on a Sunday night after a heavy lunch with J’s parents, and even by 8 pm neither of us had much of an appetite. Normally I would have just ditched our dinner plans and made us toast, but I was determined to squeeze this recipe in! It was pretty good, although I think I expected more of a flavour punch from it. Next time I would perk it up some lime zest to make the citrus flavour more pronounced.

cuban-pork-stir-fry

What recipes have you made from your cookbooks recently?

Check out posts from other bloggers participating in the challenge:

Melissa at Mango About Town
Rebecca at Nourished the Blog

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2017 Cook My Books Challenge: January

This is my cookbook case.

cookbook-shelf

Plus another shelf. Plus another box at my parents’ house that I can’t find room for here. Plus some cookbooks that can be found on my coffee table and bedside table at any time.

I realized after receiving 3 more cookbooks for Christmas that my collection is getting kind of out of hand for our small condo. And what’s worse is that most of them sit collecting dust on the shelf. Come Thursday nights when I start meal planning for the next week, it’s so much easier to just look up ideas online rather than scour through my cookbooks.

So I’ve given myself a challenge for 2017:

This year I will cook at least 3 recipes per month from my cookbooks and post a recap at the end of each month!

I feel like this is pretty doable – and I actually already surpassed it by making 4 recipes from my cookbooks in January! Here’s what I made:

cook-my-books-january

1. Sweet Potato, Chickpea, and Spinach Coconut Curry from Oh She Glows Everyday by Angela Liddon

This was a great easy dinner that was also boyfriend approved (which doesn’t often happen with meatless dinners)! And unlike some curry recipes, the ingredients were fairly simple and easy to find in your regular grocery store.

Unfortunately we ate this too quickly before I could get a good picture – a testament to how good it was!

2. Florentine Bean Soup from Refresh by Ruth Tal and Jennifer Houston

This made leftovers for days! It was a little bland, but tasted 100x better when I added Herbamare to it. And it was packed full of nutrition with three kinds of legumes, barley, and a healthy dose of greens in there!

bean-soup-refresh-cookbook

3.Roasted Butternut Squash with Grilled Halloumi and Dukkah on Massaged Kale from My New Roots by Sarah Britton

This is easily my favourite dish I’ve made so far in 2017. I mean, anything with halloumi is usually amazing. Have you tried halloumi yet? It’s the most amazing Mediterranean cheese that has the saltiness of feta but a firm, sliceable texture. It’s best when you grill or pan fry it first, which gives it such an addictive quality! Anyways, it worked perfectly in this salad with the flavours of lemony kale, mint, dukkah, and squash.

halloumi-squash-salad-my-new-roots

4. Chicken Tikka Masala from Jamie’s Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver

I’m a total Indian food newbie – I’ve never even been to an Indian restaurant because of my nut allergies. So when Andrea and I got together to cook dinner, I suggested Jamie Oliver’s chicken tikka masala. Jamie says in his cookbook that this is more of an Anglicized version of the dish, and Andrea agreed it wasn’t like the tikka masala she orders at Indian restaurants. But we both still liked it, and I found it got even better after a day in the fridge! It’s a more time consuming recipe since it calls for making your own tikka masala paste from scratch, but that just made it all the more enjoyable.

chicken-tikka-masala-jamie-oliver

Anyone want to join in this challenge with me?! What was the last cookbook recipe you made?

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Cookbook Review: The Canning Kitchen

I am slightly obsessed with cookbooks. I could spend hours inside Chapters browsing through the latest releases and building a mental cookbook wishlist. Okay, I actually do that all the time. I love the photos, the smooth feel of their covers, and the promise of delicious food inside.

But yet, I could probably count on two hands the number of times per year I actually make a recipe from one of my cookbooks.

I partially blame that on Pinterest, but also it’s because cookbook recipes can sometimes seem unachievable. They call for too many ingredients, take too many steps, and overall just don’t inspire confidence in me that I can make the recipe.

The Canning Kitchen Cookbook Review

So when I received a copy of Amy Bronee‘s first cookbook The Canning Kitchen I was surprised to discover the recipes seemed surprisingly approachable, And this is coming from someone who has canned twice in her lifetime before – so I’m far from an experienced canner.

So approachable, in fact, that I decided to make her peach jam on a Thursday morning before work with a tight time frame, without any proper canning equipment, and with a sick boyfriend moaning on the couch. I don’t know what came over me, but I felt confident I could do it anyways.

The Canning Kitchen

And things went absolutely smoothly! Just kidding, I was 2 hours late for work, my makeshift aluminum foil “rack” fell apart on me, I flooded my stove with water (note: you really cannot use a standard soup pot as a canner), the jam wouldn’t thicken (my fault: I didn’t have a wide enough pot for evaporation to occur), and I nearly had a nervous breakdown. But I have flexible work hours anyways, the water got mopped up, I added chia seeds to the jam to help thicken it up, and all was good in the end because I have 6 jars of peach jam that I made entirely by myself – I’m like one proud mama over here!

The Canning Kitchen Review

And I can honestly say I would not have done this if it weren’t for The Canning Kitchen. Canning has always intimidated me with all the seemingly complicated steps and meticulous attention to small details. And also the possibility of royally screwing up and creating a batch of jam that gets infested with bacteria and kills my whole family. Okay, perhaps a tad dramatic.

But for all you canning scaredy cats out there like me, fear no more. If The Canning Kitchen can talk a klutz like me through canning, there’s no one it can’t help. But a word of advice: listen to Amy when she tells you what equipment you need. She knows what she’s talking about.

The Canning Kitchen Review

Want to see more of what this cookbook has to offer? Check out the posts of some other great Canadian bloggers to read about their experiences making recipes from The Canning Kitchen:

Blueberry Sauce via The Brunette Baker
Bread & Butter Pickles via Planet Byn
Crunchy Dill Pickles via She Eats
Triple Red Pickles via The Tasty Gardener
Beer Hive Grainy Mustard via Sweet Twist of Blogging
Lemon Raspberry Jamalade via My Daily Randomness
Blueberry Orange Marmalade via The Messy Baker
Peach Chutney with Garam Masala via Libby Roach
Tomato Red Onion Relish via Devour & Conquer

As a part of this blog hop, we are also hosting a GIVEAWAY for a signed copy of The Canning Kitchen plus a $100 gift certificate to Canadian Tire to get you stocked up on all your canning needs! You can enter using the form below between August 26th and September 2nd, 2015. Giveaway is open to Canadian residents of legal age only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! 

Big thank you to Penguin Random House for the complimentary copy of The Canning Kitchen for the purpose of this review! All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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